Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Favorite School Memories

This school year has been my absolute favorite with my kids! Alexi is 4th grade, Brian is 2nd grade, and Cadence is 1st grade. The age of curiosity coupled with some of the curriculum choices we've made have just made it super fun to learn with them. Here is a small sampling of our curious explorations.

On one of the last sunny days of fall we ran in our jammies to stick our sundials in the ground. The goal was to mark every 3 hours to see how the sun moved. Perhaps autumn was the wrong season to attempt it, or we just have too many trees. Whatever the case. We only made it to 3 PM before the sun was no longer able to shine on our sundials. I see us revisiting this in the summer.

Cadence's 1st grade math follows the story of twins visiting their grandparent's farm over the summer. One of the activities they get to do is sprouting beans. So we "borrowed" 3 beans from my mom and sprouted some as well. I've never sprouted anything before. It was so fun checking on them every day and seeing the finger-like sprout push its way out of the dried bean.

We've had a few days of snow in November. One of those days gave us these gigantic snowflakes. The kids rushed outside to catch some. Immediately Alexi remembered an experiment from last year that didn't work when we tried it and asked to try it again. She took a black piece of paper outside and the magnifying glass so she could study the snowflakes up close.

Spelling was always one of my worst subjects; naturally it was one that I was nervous about teaching. When Alexi spelling with Abeka curriculum, it did not go well. It went so poorly in fact that I tried 3 other curriculum trying desperately to figure out how I was supposed to teach spelling to any of the 3 if I couldn't teach it to Alexi. For the second half of last year, we set it aside completely. Timidly we began this year with A Reason for Spelling in a level I felt confident Alexi would have a fair bit of success with. Now half way through the year I am beyond giddy at the success we've had with spelling this year! Not only is she learning and gaining confidence that she has never had, but also neither of us are crying when we think about doing spelling. This is just one of the learning activities Alexi does when studying her words. The simple instructions were to paint her words. This is what she brought me when she came back upstairs from painting. 

I'm just having so much fun with this stage of schooling. So many people love the discovery age of toddlers and preschoolers, when EVERYTHING is new. I am one of them. But this stage has just knocked my socks off with surprise!

Mrs. Troyer

Friday, November 12, 2021

Operation Christmas Child

Our holiday season has officially been kicked off. The first thing we do each year is pack shoeboxes for Samaritans Purse.

Every year I help each of my kids pack a box for a boy or girl their age. It's been an invaluable experience for us. While we bless kids all around the world, I am able to teach my kids about giving and gratitude in a way that nothing else we do as a family has taught them. 

When the kids were younger, the day we did the packing was difficult. Teaching a 3 and 4 year old that the toys they picked out were for someone else wasn't always fun. Right in the middle of the "wish list making" time of year these toys they held in their hands were being packed away for some other kid. But those lessons have had the best impact on them. It has helped to grow the giving spirit in all three of them. 

Now we are just waiting for Thanksgiving so we can put up our decorations...

Mrs. Troyer

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Do Thoughts Have Feet?

Back in 2009 I started this blog. Everyone and their cousin had a blog. (In fact my cousin did have a blog.) It was THE thing to do. I was at Bible school and all my classmates were starting their blogs to share ministry/schooling update as they started building their contacts they would need for support raising. My friends not at Bible school were starting blogs for every hobby they had. Some people (including me) had multiple blogs going at once to cover all their interests.

Before I ever wrote a single blog post, I spent many hours devouring blog content from crafters and lifestyle bloggers. I found myself drawn into their lives, into the stories they told. I was a sucker for a well filtered photo reel and "currently" lists.
I've been told not everyone has a running commentary going on in their heads...a conversation with yourself that never ends. That sounds quiet, and nothing like me. I have taken to listening to a sleep podcast to fall asleep because my brain never quits talking to me.

This space was started on a whim. It went through the growing pains of me figuring out what to write about and who I was writing to. I read through a few years of my old posts. There were posts that were obviously written for specific people who read my blog at that time, especially at the beginning.

Quickly the tone of my writing changed and the audience I wrote for changed too. Of course I cared to some extent who read my blog and it was exciting to have someone comment. I was encouraged to know my friends read my blog, but I wasn't writing specifically for them. This space, the one I named Barefoot Thoughts, it was a place to process and record my running commentary. It was meant to be informal, relaxed, sloppy. It was written for me, a personal smash journal of thoughts and photos and crap.
Sounds like something that should be written in a private diary, so why a public blog?

In some ways it's a creative outlet. For years I didn't understand that. I never considered myself a writer; I often got caught up on the spelling and grammar. I found being graded on my writing to be a crippling fear, and I didn't grasp the nuance of scholarly writing at all. I did have a writing club with a couple friends for a while. We wrote various fictional writings and poetry together and apart. Knowing I was the weakest member of the club by skill I made up for it in enthusiasm. I loved reading their writing (and still do whenever they take opportunity to creatively write).

But when I gave myself permission to just not care if I spelled something wrong, or used too many parenthesis, or wrote in ridiculously long run on sentences, I heard myself. I remember reading and rereading posts during the weeks after posting them. As I read them, I understood that voice that it always talking in a way I never had before. I saw myself in a completely different way. I was able to share the thoughts that I wanted to share but couldn't get out in conversations.

Those barefoot thoughts went running and it made me giddy to think that someone could possibly read them and understand me. I found me and wanted to show people this messy but creative "art" I could create.

A diary is private, meant for secret thoughts. My thoughts might be messy, but they can be so lonely too. On my own personal blog, they could be heard, without the pressure of "likes." They could be shared with anyone might struggle with the same things I do. It allows me to share whatever it is that my brain want to talk about that day...Photos of my kids, big plans for a new year, thoughts on the guilt of complaining, or incredibly explanations of my blog's name.
So in case you ever wondered why my blog is named Barefoot Thoughts. It's because I'm weird. And I don't care that you don't understand. Welcome to my personal weblog.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Chicken Thawing in the Sink

Our refrigerator is special. A couple years ago the light stopped working. It spent months flickering until it gave up completely. Randomly, about a year ago, the light turned on for a day and a half. It's not the bulb; it's some issue in the wiring. We are just too lazy to get it fixed.

We get water dripping from somewhere in the back of the fridge every couple of months, which is even more confusing because it doesn't have an ice maker. I'll go to pull out a container of sour cream from the back of the shelves and it will have a water puddle or an ice disc sitting on top of the lid.

Most of the food is kept at the correct temperature, but occasionally we get some freezing in the back. Any time I need to thaw meat, I better get it out 2-3 days before I want to use it, or it will still be frozen. (Like the chicken I have thawing the sink right now that sat in the fridge for a day.)

I rarely find myself complaining about my fridge, not because I'm a saint. Just because I'm so thankful that we have a working fridge (quirks and all) that I use daily to efficiently nourish our family of 5. Miraculous things happen in that fridge as it holds the ingredients to make our favorite meal, sneaky treats and refreshing drinks. 

Point is, we could fix the fridge or replace the fridge, but instead we fairly happily live with it.

Yesterday I was talking to my sis on Marco Polo. We had a bunch of gnat like insects (my research indicates they may have been midges) swarming around our house and inside our house. Presumable they hatched because of the unseasonably warm weather we've had. It was driving me nuts. And I complained. I complained about the bugs. I complained about the weather.

Frankly I complain about the weather a ton.

I have no control over the weather. The God of Heaven and Earth is the one who decided we were going to be blessed with days above 60 degrees in November. I took advantage of the weather to clean out my flower beds some, to blow the leaves out of the backyard, to sit on my mom's bench swing. Despite all of those beautiful moments, the words out of my mouth about the weather were complaints.

I'm not sure I have a point.

But I'm fairly positive there is one.

Just something to ponder about gratitude, complaints and the joy that comes from the Lord.

Mrs. Troyer

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Fall 2021 - Photo Recap

I know fall is not over. There are still almost 2 months before winter begins.

But my brain is weird, and it likes to give the whole month of November to Thanksgiving and the whole month of December to Christmas. 

Also, here in the north wood the "autumn" everyone thinks of (colorful leaves, apple orchards, pumpkins, leaving the house with a thick flannel as a coat) are just about over here at the end of October. 

So consider this our fall 2021 recap.
You have been lovely!

Mrs. Troyer

Friday, December 25, 2020

#MusicMonday Project

I have my social media life overly sufficiently spread around. I have my personal account on Facebook and Instagram. I have a YouTube channel I have played with over the years (more on that one another time). I have a music account on Instagram and now a page for it on Facebook (A Timely Reminder is it's name). The reason for the spreading is simple, Facebook and Instagram is mainly where I share for friends and family about our family life. They aren't usually all that interested in what I do with music or other odd things that strike my fancy, so I chose to have separate accounts for that sort of thing.

Last December I used my music account to do a series of a cappella Christmas carols. This December I did #MusicMonday as I've been taking extra time to try and accompany myself a bit more as I sing on the piano. As I write this, I have one more to film post. This last one is getting an upgrade though, Chad bought me a microphone and small mixer for Christmas!! 

If you are interested in whatever musical mischief I get into, you can find me on facebook or instagram 

Mrs. Troyer

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

My Busy 20s

I will be 30 years old officially tomorrow.
It's hard to imagine this next decade being as full of changes, growth and events as my 20s. I thought a quick recap of what has made my 20s so full would be a fitting end.

And now that I've tried to write this recap 3 different times and 3 different ways, I've decided bullet points are the way to do it.

  • Graduated with my Associates degree
  • Joined the Troyer family by becoming Mrs. Troyer
  • Moved 3 times
  • Bought 1 house
  • Gave birth to our 3 children (one at home)
  • Worked at the church part-time (which was not in the plans at all)
  • Said farewell to dear family members
Looking at the 20 year old who was just about to be engaged to her best friend, I could not even begin to explain to her the ways in which her life was going to rapidly change. There have been times when I've felt like I'm just barely hanging on to life as it goes speeding by. Then times when I can't believe I have to face yet another day of infants waking me up in the middle of the night. But seasons come and seasons go. As I peer over the edge into what my 30s may hold for me, I can see it's a very different time of life than my 20s was, but no less filled with joy, sorrow, happiness, and growth. May I remember the lessons learned this last decade and hold dear their memories.